Planning Permission for Scottish Rooftop Solar is Removed

SCOTLAND’S solar energy industry has warmly welcomed the removal of planning permission for rooftop solar panels in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s eagerly anticipated overhaul of permitted development rights (PDRs) for rooftop solar has now officially come into force.

The move scraps the 50 kilowatt upper limit for permitted rights for rooftop solar on domestic and non-domestic buildings. Previously, above this limit, full planning permission was required.

Scottish Rooftop Solar

The changes are expected to have a significant benefit for business and commercial rooftops in reducing energy costs. The move follows the removal of non-domestic rates for rooftop solar in last year’s budget, which industry also campaigned for. Both these changes are set to eliminate considerable barriers to rooftop installations.

Chair of Solar Energy Scotland, Thomas McMillan, said: “We have campaigned for this change for a number of years. Simplifying the planning process for rooftop solar will make a substantial difference to Scotland delivering six gigawatts of solar by 2030.

“With energy costs continuing to be stubbornly high, solar remains one of the most effective ways of reducing the charges of running residential and commercial buildings: this change by the Scottish Government makes the process of installing solar quicker and easier and is warmly welcomed,” he added.

Flat Roof Solar Systems

Flat roof systems can also be installed under permitted development, provided they do not protrude more than one metre from the roof surface. Even solar in conservation areas can be permitted development if they are not on primary elevations or fronting roads. Only World Heritage sites and listed buildings are exempt from the new changes.

Scotland, England and Wales have all now removed an upper limit to their PDR guidelines. There are some differences based on the type of building, so regulation in each nation should be followed to avoid any planning violations.

Other changes to the solar landscape include free-standing solar panels permitted within the curtilage of non-domestic buildings (up to 12 square metres). Moreover, restrictions are relaxed for solar canopies, which now no longer require their primary purpose to be powering electric vehicle chargers. This was seen by the industry as an unnecessary constraint.

>>Read more about rooftop solar in the news

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